Sunday, September 29, 2013

Around the Farm

We were supposed to be in Pierce, Nebraska for the big car auction this weekend. We cancelled. 
I don't think the ten thousand plus other attendee's missed us. Did you go? 
Since we stayed home, I will share a couple photo's from around the farm this week.

My three "Rosie's". They follow me everywhere!

This is Punky. He is a Porcelain d' Uccle, and is our first bantam.

Meet Harriet.

My beautiful Maximillian Sunflower. LOADED with blooms. And bee's.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Baked Ham Balls

Many many years ago, I was a horribly fussy eater. I didn't even like meatballs. How could I not like meatballs? Well, I had a deep fear of my mom trying to sneak mushrooms, or God forbid... cream of mushroom soup into anything I would eat. It was absolutely forbidden for any mushroom fragment to touch my food. If anything was suspicious, I would do a full dissection on it until I knew for a fact that they were not trying to pull one over on me!

But, when Mom would make her Baked Ham Balls, it was my absolute favorite! There were no mushrooms to worry about in this dish! She made these on special occasions, or when there was company coming. It makes a big batch, so I was always extra excited because I knew that we always had leftovers! I did downsize this recipe, or we would have enough meatballs to last us until we have a 6 month summer! These are such a lovely variation to a traditional meatball. A special treat for guests, or just to treat yourself!

Baked Ham Balls

1 lb. ground ham
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb ground beef
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 eggs
1 cup milk 

1 can tomato soup
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/3 cup vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking pan with foil (I needed two pans).  In large mixing bowl, combine ham, pork, beef, cracker crumbs, eggs, and half of the milk. Add remainder of milk, slowly, only as needed. You don't want so much milk that you can't roll the mixture into balls.  When all ingredients are combined, roll into balls using about 1/3 cup per meatball. Place meatballs in pan.

In medium bowl, combine soup, brown sugar, mustard and vinegar. Whisk until mixed well. Pour sauce over meatballs.  Bake for one hour, basting after 30 minutes, and again 15 minutes later.


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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fall is in the air


Fall is in the air. Things are starting to change. 
Thankfully, most of our flowers have started blooming again after the heat and dry spell.
I hope to enjoy them for many more days!

 Despite the squash bug this year, I have pumpkins coming along nicely!

 Corn is starting to dry.

 Truckin' Man loves to see these ears drying so nicely!

I love the goldness of the fields of beans.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lemon Thyme Chicken Stew

Finally! It's time to start enjoying foods that are better for warming you up. Who needs more warming up in the summer??  I hope this is a long and mild fall! It is truly my season. Winter is too cold, and summer is too hot. Spring... well, it's good, but we didn't get one this year. So... I hope fall is here for a long time!

This recipe is perfect for a cool fall day. Throw it in the crockpot and you are good to go about your day.  All you need to go along side of this is some crusty bread, and you will be lovin' what just happened in your crockpot!  I absolutely love all the flavor combinations in this dish. The combination of the thyme and lemon make for some of the best potatoes and chicken and I have ever made in the crockpot. 

Lemon Thyme Chicken Stew (Source: Taste of Home)

1 lb small red potatoes, halved or quartered (depending on size of potato)
1 large onion, diced
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp lemon peel, grated
2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs, skin removed
2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves

Place potatoes, onion and carrots in 3 qt slow cooker.  Sprinkle with flour, garlic, lemon peel, thyme, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Place chicken over top.  Add broth and bay leaves.

Cook, covered, on low for 7 to 9 hours, or until chicken and potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaves.


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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Trucks Everywhere!

Despite how much of my life revolves around trucks and the trucking industry, I had never been to a truck show..... Until this weekend. We learned about one over in the little town of Kasson, MN. The Big Iron Classic Truck Show And Charity Drive. Not to far away, so we made the trip.

Trucks, Trucks and more trucks. Peterbilts everywhere! Pretty fun seeing them all lined up.

Working trucks, not just show trucks

The work and customization on the trucks is amazing!

We learned that we (meaing I) really do like trucks that are white.

The paint options are endless.

Love this truckers travel companion.

Truckin' Man loved this truck.

With temps well over my breaking point, I was so happy to find the tent selling water. 
Best water ever!!!

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Frosted Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Fall is so close, I can just about taste it! Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. The temps are absolute perfection in my opinion. The colors are gorgeous. Seeing the fall color change in the Smoky Mountains is one of the most amazing sites I have ever seen. And.... let's not forget all the amazing fall foods! It's finally cool enough to enjoy soups and chili's again. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes, can get back into the rotation. The fact that it is cool enough to get that oven going again and bake cookies, just makes me smile! Granted, I never quit baking cookies in the summer, but there is a lot of grumbling in the kitchen about the temperature.

This month, the cookie bakers from "Fill the Cookie Jar" were to bake a "fall" inspired cookie. I really had to think what flavor I wanted for a fall cookie, and when I found the recipe for my Frosted Apple Oatmeal Cookies at Betty Crocker, I knew that was my "perfect" fall cookie. We love them. I will be making more of these this week, and several more batches this season. Truckin' Man loves them. Every time he grabs a cookie, he mutters "These are a problem". Pretty good review, I would say. My parents stopped over the weekend, and took a cookie for the road. I don't think my mom was out of the car yet, when she was asking for the recipe for the cookies. They are soft, moist, packed with apple flavor. I love having the oatmeal in the cookie, for the texture.

If you are interested in joining Fill The Cookie Jar group on facebook, fill out the form that can be found at Fill The Cookie Jar. Each month we bake a different theme for the cookie.  We bake, we share and we enjoy our cookies!

Frosted Apple Oatmeal Cookies   (Source:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats (I used quick-cooking)
1 medium apple, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup)
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 to 3 tablespoons milk or apple juice (I used milk)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with on medium speed until creamy. Beat in vanilla and eggs, scraping sides occasionally, until blended. 
In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add flour mixture into sugar mixture. Mix well.  Add in oats and apple. 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet then transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely; about 15 minutes.

In medium bowl, combine powdered sugar and milk until smooth. With a spoon, drizzle frosting over cooled cookies on cooling rack (slide some parchment paper or wax paper under your cooling rack for easier clean up!). Let stand about 1 hour or until glaze is set..... If you can wait until then!


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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (with Summer Squash)

Maybe it's just because it is part of summer, that I love zucchini and summer squash.  Or maybe it's just because you can do so many things with them!

This bread has been one of our favorites for a couple years now.  The original recipe was for a zucchini bread, but I had more yellow summer squash on hand that season. And, I found the bonus to be that since it was yellow, in a lemon bread, Truckin' Man didn't notice right away. He does love the veggies, he just doesn't like when I start having zucchini every meal. Myself, I could go quite a while before I burn out on it.

This bread is one of the most amazingly moist breads. Lovely lemon flavor. And the poppy seeds just complete the bread! 

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (with Summer Squash)  (Source: Out Here Magazine 2011)

4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 pkg instant lemon pudding
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp lemon extract
2 cups shredded summer squash
1/4 cup poppy seeds
2 tsp. grated lemon peel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside. In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk, oil lemon juice, and lemon extract.  Add dry ingredients to egg mixture. Stir only until moistened.  Fold in squash, poppy seeds, and lemon peel.

Pour into two greased 9 x 5 loaf pans.  Bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf, comes out clean.

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